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Bone-anchored hearing aids

Bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHA) use a surgical implant to transmit sound through bone to the inner ear. Read about how they work and who they can help.

Bone-anchored hearing aids may be able to help children and adults who cannot wear 'behind the ear' hearing aids.

Bone-anchored hearing aids: what they are

All bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHA) have 2 parts:

  1. A surgical implant that transmits sound by direct conduction through bone to the inner ear.
  2. A small sound processor that is attached to the outside of the head behind the ear.

We offer 2 different types of bone-anchored hearing aid:

  1. The first type transmits sound from the processor to the implant through a connector that crosses the skin. This is called a percutaneous system.
  2. The second type transmits sound from the processor to the implant through the skin using internal and external magnets. This is called a transcutaneous system.

Who they can help

Bone-anchored hearing aids may be able to help children and adults who have:

  • problems in your outer ear or middle ear that block or restrict the flow of sound waves
  • mixed hearing loss, such as damage in your outer or middle ear, and also in your inner ear or hearing nerve
  • hearing loss in one ear only
  • difficulty wearing 'in the ear' or 'behind the ear' hearing aids

First appointment

The audiology service will refer adults and children over 3 years to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) department in hospital for your first consultation.

For children under 3, the audiology service will fit a percutaneous bone-anchored hearing aid.

Once your child is over 3, the audiology service can refer them to ENT. The ENT department can then tell you which type of hearing aid is best for your child.

Hearing aid assessment and trial appointment

If you and the audiologist decide that a bone-anchored hearing aid could help you, you'll have another appointment.

At this appointment, you or your child will:

  • have a full assessment to check that a bone-anchored hearing aid is right for you
  • get advice about which of the 2 types of bone-anchored hearing aid is best for you
  • be offered a trial for 2 to 4 weeks to try out the hearing aid
  • be shown how to fit the hearing aid and use it during the trial
  • be given a log to record how you get on with the hearing aid during the trial
  • be given information to support you through the trial period

After the trial

You'll have another appointment to review how you got on during the trial.

The hearing specialist will look at the log that you or your child kept.

If you need more time to decide if a bone-anchored hearing aid is right for you, the hearing specialist can extend the trial period.

Decision appointment

After you or your child have trialled the bone-anchored hearing aid, you'll have a final appointment with an ENT consultant, audiologist and ENT nurse.

This to decide whether you or your child should have the surgery to fit a permanent hearing aid.

You'll be given advice about:

  • your options for surgery and treatment, including which type of hearing aid is best for you
  • how the implant works
  • how long the surgery takes to heal
  • hearing aid hygiene
  • ordering your hearing aid, including colour options

If you agree, you'll sign a consent form.

You or your child will then go on a waiting list for the surgery.

After surgery

Once you or your child has had the surgery for the implant, your team will tell you what to do as you heal.

You or your child will then:

  • have an appointment with a nurse about 5 days after the operation to make sure you're healing properly
  • meet with your audiologist about 4 weeks later to have the hearing aid fitted and find out how to use, clean and maintain it
  • meet your audiologist after another 6 weeks and again after 3 months to follow up on your progress
  • meet your ENT consultant and audiologist once a year to check on progress and ensure the hearing aid is working at its best

Related topics

Hearing aids

Cochlear implants

Page last reviewed: 05/08/2019
Next review due: 05/08/2022